Police ordered to watch analyst

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Kem Sok has been a regular commentator on political affairs. KT/Mai Vireak

Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered police to keep an eye on social analyst Kem Sok, telling them during a speech yesterday to make sure he does not flee the country before defamation charges are heard in court.
Mr. Hun Sen’s lawyer Ky Tech filed a complaint to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday against Mr. Sok after he allegedly accused the ruling CPP of being behind the murder of political analyst Kem Ley.
Mr. Sok has denied the allegations, saying he used the term “they” in reference to any state institution and did not specifically mean Mr. Hun Sen or the CPP during his comments at a Radio Free Asia roundtable event on Saturday evening.
Speaking at an inauguration ceremony for the Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge in Koh Thom district in Kandal province yesterday, the prime minister said Mr. Sok’s remarks had affected the reputation of the party and “caused unrest in society.”
He has to go to jail for these crimes and pay compensation of $500,000, Mr. Hun Sen said.
He ordered police to monitor Mr. Sok’s whereabouts in case he attempted to flee the country like others have in the past. Others who have fled include former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who fled to Paris more than a year ago, and opposition senator Thak Lany, who fled to Sweden after being sentenced to 18 months in prison on insurrection charges.
Both allegedly told crowds of people that the CPP or Mr. Hun Sen was involved in the murder of Mr. Ley.
“You made the comment accusing the CPP of killing people. [We] demand half a million dollars, if you don’t want the confiscation of your property and for it to be sold at an auction. Pay and they will not confiscate,” he said.  
“The police have to follow him closely, otherwise he will run, because the ones we previously accused ran to Sweden.”
Mr. Hun Sen also called on the Chinese ambassador to Cambodia not to intervene on Mr. Sok’s behalf. Mr. Sok who comes from Takeo province, studied and graduated from schools in China.
“Whoever intends to destroy peace will not be tolerated and not forgiven. Don’t attempt to make a color revolution. You cannot. Prepare the coffins.
“I am not joking because it kills many people. This is not about your freedom of expression,” the prime minister told the crowd.
Attempts to contact Mr. Sok were unsuccessful yesterday, but in a Facebook post he tried to clarify his comments and redirect the focus to what he believed was the real issue.
“I am responsible for what I have said if my comments face legal action,” he wrote. “But I would like to ask the government, who is responsible for their roles and duties to the public, to clear their doubt about who killed Kem Ley.”
Mr. Ley was shot and killed last July at a Caltex gas station cafe while reading a newspaper. The alleged shooter was arrested shortly after, but many opposition politicians and commentators have questioned whether someone else organized the killing.
Social commentator Meas Ny, who was also criticized by the prime minister earlier this month, said this was the third time the government had filed a lawsuit against someone who commented on the murder of Mr. Ley.
“The issue is that they only take part of the case for proceedings but other parts, like who is behind the killing of Kem Ley, is still mysterious. So it’s dangerous for commentators,” he said.

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